Beth Cohen
Unabashed lesbian equalist and ardent Zionist

I missed a week, maybe two.

photo by Nurit Barkai
It is no small wonder that an entire population has no idea what day it is, save Shabbat. Save Shabbat (?) Save us all!

Given the ‘situation’ -this is not surprising. With the numbers of sick and intubated rising, not to mention being locked-down at home, the threat of illness, reduced income, staggering unemployment, coupled with the approaching almost certain to be dismal holiday season – it is hard for even the strongest and healthiest of souls to keep track of where she is from moment to moment.

photo by Dawn Orkin

It is no small wonder that an entire population has no idea what day it is, save Shabbat. Save Shabbat (?) Save us all!

I am proud and not surprised that the Deep Knowledge Group’s Covid19 Health Safety Country Ranking, Israel ranks #1.

Deep-Knowledge-Group’s-Covid19-Health-Safety-Country-Ranking-April-1st-2020

Israel has had too much experience with crisis situations, and our people know how to help each other, even when we cannot agree about everything. The one thing we do agree upon, for the most part, is the value of life. We understand loss, we understand grief and we go to great lengths to prevent another family, mother, father, son, daughter from experiencing that pain. This is what I have come to believe, is the source -the root, of compassion.

Yes, Israel is strong. Israelis are resilient and persistent. Israelis are passionate and compassionate.

But how are we now, all separated and in our separate homes? As a people, we have weathered many storms. This_ is_very_different. We are all truly isolated, most of us, doing the ‘right thing’ for the greater good and staying home.

Stay home. This phrase has changed the world forever.

This is the first time, perhaps in history, that truly helping one another means keeping a distance. We are a people that love people. True, we love to complain about one another. We love to shout at one another. All of this is true. But now, many of us find ourselves truly alone. In this pandemic -this plague -we need to separate in order to survive. We show our love and caring, by waving from our porch or window; or maybe, by just staying behind closed doors.  This is by far one of the largest challenges we have faced as a nation. We show our kindness by not physically reaching out to one another.

Pasach, just a few days away, will truly put us all to the test. In a few days, as a nation, we will each decide how much we truly care of and for each other.

We practice social distancing. We don’t go anywhere. That is the fact today -and it will need to be the fact through the upcoming days and weeks, including Erev Pasach, next Wednesday.

While the holiday is not just about the food, Pesach, more than any other holiday, is about getting together around the table and telling the story of how we survived that storm; that storm that bore us Moshe and brought the plagues. This is the holiday we are taught to invite the ‘stranger’ into our homes and to sit at our tables. Stranger! This year there will be no strangers -but it will be strange. No stranger, no family, no friends -each home alone. (Zoom. WhatsApp…)

I’ve heard so often this past week, ‘We survived Pharaoh, we can survive this.”

I don’t doubt that as a people, we can survive this. I wonder about the individuals. I wonder and worry about those who live alone.

A confessed ‘home-body,’ even I am un-edged – I have no sense of beginning or end; the words and sentences for this essay, spilling out of me in short dribs and drabs. I am both filled and numbed by this sense of ‘don’t’ and ‘not.’ My dreams are not separated by the waking hours. Each moment, no longer separate from the next. As a writer, I should be used to this.  Time has never been part of the construct, never quite existing in the area of writing, irrelevant, when caught up in words on the page.

And like this pandemic, my thoughts seem to have no clear beginning and even worse, no ending.

How much relief Nachman Shai provided as we closeted ourselves in 1991

And so, to my point, a week or two, one moment or the next. I missed a week…days into nights into days.

photo by Nurit Barkai
About the Author
Beth Cohen, born July 19th 1962 in Brooklyn, NY. Attended Syracuse University and made Aliyah upon graduation in Sept 1983. She became a member of Kibbutz Ketura, married and started the journey as a mother to two boys, now 28 and 31 years. Grandmother to Eitan, aged 25 months. In 1997, Beth moved her family to Binyamina, where she lived until moving to Zichron with her wife. Throughout the years, Beth has had many jobs, including speech therapist, shiatsu therapist, kibbutz gardner and irrigation manager, medical sales rep, regional sales manager and client retention. Beth and her wife co-founded a medical writing business, and she continues to work as a medical marketing writer and editor. While these occupations have been a constant, Beth's passion and constant is writing, using the written platform as her mediium to share her experiences and life views. In 2017, Beth published her first novel, a futuristic women's dystopian novel, Her Destiny Is Change. The feedback was, and continues to be fantastic. Beth promoted the book with book readings here in Israel and in Amsterdam. In the early 2000's Beth started writing and publish her blog, LesbosOnTheCouch, which became popular both here in Israel and abroad, giving her almost celebrity status among English speaking lesbians in Israel. Beth worked to get members of the political party, Kol Hanashim, elected into the 23rd Knesset. Currently, Beth, like much the rest of the population is home, praying we will all meet again on the other side of this pandemic. Until then, will continue to write and share her writing, sometimes sad, sometimes sarcastic, some funny -and always from the heart.
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